How’s the economy doing? Sure you can look at stocks, and the unemployment rate, but you can also look at boxer briefs. Underwear sales are soaring, and according to economists, that means things are looking up! Here are the facts, according to Time magazine:
- Let’s talk about underwear. Marshal Cohen is a retail sales analyst, and he says, people always buy underwear. Sales are typically steady, they don’t fluctuate much from year to year. So when sales stopped cold in 2009, we should have known something big was happening. The good news is, sales are now up over 6%. Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, calls it the “Underwear Index,” because an increase in sales of regular household items is a sign people have stopped penny pinching.
- You know what else is up? Cable and satellite TV subscriptions, and that’s despite big competition from cheap streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. If people are willing to pay $50 to $100 a month for TV packages, it’s a sign that we have discretionary income.
- Another positive sign? More foursomes are heading to the links. Rounds of golf increased a whopping 21% this past January, compared to January 2011. And that’s on public and private courses, so it’s not just the country club-set who are willing to shell out for 18-holes.
- Another odd economic indicator? Beauty salons. In a downturn, people stop getting haircuts, blowdrys and highlights. Beauty salon sales are up over %5, and 34% of salons say they’ve hired new employees. That puts them back at pre-recession levels.
- One last way we know things are turning around? Mobile home sales are up 30% over last year. Sure, trailer parks are cheaper to live in than a regular house, but those sales tend to rise just before overall housing numbers do.